TRFJ- 10 serious problems with touchscreens


Red at The Red Ferret Journal has published a list of "10 serious problems with touchscreens that you should know before June 29th" in celebration of the iPhone release on that date.  Having used touchscreen devices for years I can tell you that Red’s list is spot on and new iPhone owners are going to become well acquainted with these problems beginning with the first power slide.  I won’t give all of Red’s list here but the major points he makes corresponds with things I’ve been saying about the iPhone here on jkOnTheRun:

Fat Fingers Fumble- yes, having a touch only interface will be challenging to the "over-thumbed".

Forget about one-handed SMS texting.  I’ve pointed out that the iPhone will be a two hand device which is going to surprise a lot of new iPhone owners.

The eyes have it- no tactile response means you will have to constantly be looking at the screen when using it.

Take a look at the whole list, they are all well-thought out and will likely be discussed by new iPhone owners starting June 30th.



I was all excited about the iPhone until I actually thought about it and how I use a phone. The excitement kind of vanished after that for this exact reason. And the lack of real high speed data. But that lack of a keyboard…or any other buttons to speak of…is a real deal breaker. Any time you need to do anything with the iPhone, you will need to give it your complete attention and once the novelty wears off and it’s “just a phone”, that will be a HUGE pain in arse. The one-handed thing isn’t that important to me but having to look at the thing for the most menial of tasks is. Want to tap out a message while not looking like you’re tapping out a message, such as in a dull meeting? Nope, not with the iPhone. Want to make a quick call which driving (yeah yeah, maybe YOU’RE an angel, but the 100’s of people I see every day doing this are NOT)? Nope, not with the iPhone. Want to pass some time at a train station with Slingplayer? Oops…no 3rd party app support so not with the iPhone.

It might still be worth a look, if only for the novelty of it, if it wasn’t going to be so outrageously expensive. Of all the people I personally know who were excited about it, only one guy still says he’ll buy one and only because he’s a collector of all things Apple. I have a feeling a lot of people will go to the store and look at them, far fewer will actually buy one and, of those, only a percentage will still be using it after six months. Maybe when rev 2 or 3 rolls around and Apple comes to it senses it’ll be worth a serious look. For now, I can’t even imagine trying to use it on a daily basis.


Hmmm. Perhaps I’m just not texting savvy enough, but I’ve always used two thumbs to tap out my messages, whether it was on my RAZR, or my MDA (with the QWERTY keyboard), or now on my N95. Do Blackberry, Treo, Q, and other similar phone users only use one hand to text? I would find that extremely difficult, not least because I have small hands that would probably not be able to travel the whole length of the keyboard with just one thumb.

I’m not saying that one-handed texting/surfing is the exception rather than the rule. It’s probably likely that lots of people do one-thumbed texting all the time. However, in my mind, I wouldn’t have thought that a phone with a QWERTY keyboard would’ve allowed one-handed operation (besides using the d-pad for scrolling), so it’s likely that some people would be able to figure out how to do one-handed texting and surfing on the iPhone, despite the lack of hardware buttons.

Also, lots of kids have devices like Sidekicks where it seems more likely that they’d use two thumbs to text anyway. It’s less likely that iPhone users would be able to text without looking, but you never know. :)

Incidentally, having just bought the N95, I’m not going to be in line for the iPhone. Just a disclaimer in case doubters think I’m excusing the iPhone because I’ll be getting one soon. :P

G. Scott

I use my Treo for surfing and SMS’ing with one hand, a LOT! I couldn’t imagine having to use two hands to do basic stuff on my phone. I know a lot of people that can SMS on a regular celly without looking at all, since they know where the keys are.

The lack of a dedicated keyboard on the iPhone is a huge bummer. Maybe in a few years they’ll introduce a keyboard model and everyone will go ga-ga over the ‘new feature’.

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